LNG – AN ENERGY SOURCE WITH A BRIGHT FUTURE
The future looks bright for Liquefied Natural Gas. Not only is this energy source one area in which Total excels, it is also a major contributor to the Group’s growth. As a global O&G operator with long-standing expertise that is integrated into the entire value chain, the Group constantly improves its solutions and technology to maintain its undisputed position as a leading provider of cutting-edge expertise.
In 2035, natural gas is expected to be second only to coal as the world’s most widely used fossil fuel, and may even overtake that energy source. According to our forecasts, the share of natural gas in the supply of primary energy should make up a quarter of the world’s energy mix in 2035. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plays an important role in the rise of natural gas. The share of LNG in global natural gas imports will increase from 10% in 2014 to 17% in 2035.
The LNG boom can be explained by its undeniable advantages. LNG presents the same advantages as natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, which is also abundant, accessible and flexible. LNG also complements renewable energy sources:
- as part of the energy transition, LNG is an excellent alternative to coal, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to thermal power generation and fight climate change
- shipping liquefied gas by sea over great distances is an opportunity to market resources that are located very far away from major consumption centers
- the ability to redirect LNG shipments offers greater flexibility in terms of supply management than transportation by gas pipelines, thereby facilitating the emergence of an integrated global gas market
Total is ranked among the world’s LNG leaders. Not only is this sector one area in which Total excels, it is also a major contributor to the Group’s growth. The Group ensures access to new resources by managing the entire LNG chain and by implementing cutting-edge technological solutions, an approach that optimizes the value of production and supply.
The Yamal LNG project aims to develop the condensate gas field in South Tambey, located in the Arctic region.
Qatargas 1 and 2 are the first sites to harvest gas from the North Field offshore deposit for liquefaction and export.
Ichthys LNG involves developing offshore Australian gas reserves.
The Yemen LNG site led the way in developing the country's gas resources previously untapped.
The Gladstone LNG project (fields located in southwest Queensland) is one of only two projects in the world that produce LNG from coalbed methane.
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAs: A Long-standing PRESENCE AND COMPLETE CONTROL OVER THE ENTIRE VALUE CHAIN
The production, transport and processing of liquefied natural gas requires extensive expertise. A pioneer in LNG, Total applies an integrated approach to the way in which it runs and develops its business across all sectors: exploration, marketing, production, liquefaction, transport, trading or regasification. Consequently, the Group is a major global operator throughout the entire gas value chain.
Total’s integrated strategy relies on a global presence to satisfy demand in all major markets and particularly in Asia. The Group therefore maintains a presence in all the main LNG production regions: currently, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean area (including Australia), and soon North America and Russia. The boom experienced by the LNG industry must be accompanied by complete control over industrial and technological risks. The Group’s LNG sites comply with the industry’s highest safety standards. Every day, teams of international experts audit LNG terminals, inspect transmission infrastructure and monitor LNG carriers.
Upstream: recognized liquefaction processes experience
Total is known for its experience with production technology and liquefaction processes. Total E&P’s cryogenic engineering expertise means it is proficient in all the processes that exist on the market. Another asset is the Group’s presence in Australia, which is of major importance for the growth of the LNG industry. Total and its partners have developed ground-breaking expertise that allows them to undertake complex offshore and onshore LNG projects safely.
Downstream: direct access to markets to develop production
Total’s substantial regasification capacity in the main consumer markets enables the company to provide direct, diversified access to LNG shipments. As the world’s second biggest operator in terms of LNG trading volumes, the Group is in an ideal position to develop production, optimize trade flows, secure supplies and adapt to price fluctuations.
Cutting-edge LNG: technological solutions
Total implements innovative technology throughout the LNG chain. In a highly competitive environment, our teams find more economical and more efficient liquefied gas transport and production solutions and thereby open up access to new gas resources while reducing our energy and environmental footprint.
Priority given to the energy efficiency of liquefaction trains
Improving the energy efficiency of LNG trains is of critical importance to the gas industry. The liquefaction process requires a great deal of energy: it uses up to 10% of the natural gas that enters the plant. The integration of lithium bromide (LiBr) absorption chillers on our sites optimizes the energy efficiency of the liquefaction units. The absorption chillers function by recovering heat from the steam produced by the gas turbines. The cold water produced as a result is used in the liquefaction process and to chill the gas turbines’ air inlet. The amount of energy saved ranges from 10% to 30%. The liquefaction trains’ capacity increases by around 30%, while keeping the same driving engines. These performance levels vary in accordance with the type of gas turbines used (heavy duty or aeroderivative gas turbines) and depending on whether a combined cycle is used simultaneously for the absorption chillers.
Exploiting and shipping LNG: innovative technology to cope with extreme conditions
Total develops specialized, safe technology to exploit and transport gas in the harshest environments, particularly in the extremely cold conditions of the Arctic Circle.
When building the Yamal LNG plant, piles driven into the permafrost were used to form the foundation.
- The winterization of gas facilities is essential to produce gas safely at very low surface temperatures: the plant and the work stations must be protected from extreme weather conditions (low temperatures, blizzards, heavy snowfall, etc.) and any risks of flammable and/or toxic fluid leaks. The Group has therefore developed a patented axial ventilation system which improves the ventilation capacity of the production buildings. This innovative solution resolves two conflicting problems: it reconciles the need for contained areas (to limit heat loss and to prevent snow from covering production equipment) with the need for ventilation, which is required due to the possible presence of gas.
- Total is taking part in the launch of a large-scale brash-ice management system. This solution will be implemented for the first time on the Yamal LNG project in Russia. It will allow ships to sail into the LNG port and its approach channels at any time, even in winter when ice is present. Combined with ice-breaking ships and jetties in the port, a system that breaks up ice by releasing bubbles and injecting water will be installed on the bed of the port, close to the jetties. It will help minimize the formation of residual ice caused by the passing of ships.
- Our teams also have unique expertise in the engineering and construction of industrial facilities on permafrost. The construction of the LNG plant on piles in a permafrost area is a challenge due to the size and the weight of the equipment (several thousand tons). The techniques used ensure that the gas facilities will remain stable on the permafrost throughout the project’s lifetime.
Floating LNG solutions to respond to market developments
Total has developed several floating architectural designs for LNG that are ready to respond to new requirements, from processing to regasification.
- The “Gas Solutions” R&D program is studying the marinization of amine absorption columns for floating LNG facilities. The challenge is to retain the effectiveness of this separation process in marine conditions. Movements caused by ocean swell alter liquid distribution, clogging point and mass transfer in the columns. A hexapod with 6 Degrees of Freedom has been set up in a laboratory at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, where experimental tests are taking place. This equipment is used to simulate wave-induced acceleration and thus better manage this phenomenon. The tests that are currently taking place augment the data acquired in 2014 on an oscillating pilot unit.
- Taking advantage of its expertise in FPSO units, Total participates in the design, construction and exploitation of LNG Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRU). These FSRUs do not take as long to develop as conventional terminals and do not require as much investment.
- The development of LNG remains contingent on the ongoing implementation of a high level of safety and on compliance with stringent standards. Total is involved in several research projects that aim to assess and manage the risks associated with floating facilities, particularly for liquefaction, to reduce these risks from the design stage onward. Regardless of the type of LNG development activity, the hazards to people, environments and property are systematically identified. The associated risks are assessed and measures that will reduce these risks are defined and implemented.
Maritime expertise: new opportunities for shipping LNG
Total is at the cutting edge of LNG shipping technology, a strategic part of opening new, more commercially attractive routes and shipping LNG to destinations that are more difficult to access.
Yamal Arctic Liquefied Natural Gas career.
- The Group has worked with its partners to study and coordinate the design for the first LNG ice-breakers, a global innovation. These ARC7, winterized, double-acting vessels have a strengthened hull and a capacity of 172,000 m3. Each vessel is equipped with three 15 MW azimuth thrusters. They are capable of breaking 2.1-meter-thick ice when proceeding astern. A total of 15 new generation LNG carriers will be commissioned starting in 2016. This unprecedented mode of transport will be used to ship Arctic LNG all year round.
- An innovative shipment solution has been implemented to export Arctic LNG from Yamal LNG to Asia all year round: transshipment. LNG ice-breakers are the best solution for short ice-covered routes. Their cargo will therefore be transshipped onto conventional vessels in Northern Europe to optimize the shipping process, either from one docked vessel to another or via an onshore buffer storage tank. Transshipment will become a routine operation at several LNG terminals, including those at Zeebrugge, Belgium and Dunkirk, France.
- The development of a new proprietary simulation software program enables us to optimize the fleet of LNG carriers required for a project. This tool models the project data for the entire LNG chain. It specifies the volume of the onshore storage tanks and the number of LNG handling jetties to be created at the liquefaction plant and the LNG terminals.
- Our teams engage in continuous technological monitoring of the emerging techniques and new operating methods adopted by LNG carriers: optimized hull shapes, new types of propulsion, cargo containment systems linked to the tanks’ evaporation rate, on-board re-liquefaction systems, and ship winterization.